George Robert Heilman, 95, of Leland NC passed away at home on April 25, 2023 just a few days shy of his 96th birthday.
Bob, as he was called by most, grew up in Huntington WV. He was an active Boy Scout and won a medal for perfect Sunday School attendance at Highlawn Presbyterian Church for 4 consecutive years. Bob left his senior year at Huntington East High School early to enlist in the US Navy at 17. He served in the Pacific during the final year of World War II. After discharge, he met and married the love of his life, Lorraine, in 1948 and completed two years at Marshall University while in the naval reserves. He was called back to active service, again serving in the Pacific, during the Korean War before he was discharged in 1951.
Bob studied and obtained a License as a Registered Professional Engineer. He worked with the Army Corp of Engineers in Huntington WV before moving to Charleston WV to work for Union Carbide as a Mechanical Engineer. After many years in Charleston and assignments in Houston, Louisiana, Canada, and Jacksonville FL, he retired in 1985, with two patents to his name and having worked many years with his good friend Don Franson.
Bob and Lorraine celebrated 74 years together before he passed away. Also surviving Bob are his daughters Linda Long and husband Tom, Jill Heilman and husband Stephen Gardner and three grandchildren, Melissa, Nick, and Hayley. He is also survived by his niece Becky Dare and husband Steve. While he did not attend, Bob was a longtime fan and supporter of Virginia Tech from which his daughters, Jill and Linda, graduated.
Always one to “do it himself”, Bob oversaw the construction of several homes, made wonderful hobby horses for his grandchildren, built beautiful furniture including inlaid tables, crafted stain glass windows, and was always refining and remodeling something. His family recalls many hours spent “assisting” and “holding” as he worked on cars and refitted an attic (two times); there was never a shortage of projects. Trained as an electrician in the US Navy, he volunteered his time to set up the St Albans Town Fair, a fundraiser for the local library, in addition to a multitude of other home wiring projects. His favorite book was Smoley’s Combined Tables which he consulted a few days before he passed in anticipation of future projects.
Bob and his wife Lorraine enjoyed playing golf with their many friends. Bob achieved four Holes-in-One on three different holes at The Golf Club of Amelia Island. Bob and Lorraine loved to travel and invested in taking their young daughters on multiple four-week car trips throughout the United States. In addition to traveling to all 50 states, Bob and Lorraine have fond memories of their travels to 42 countries including China with their good friends the late Bill and Fran Casto, as well Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Panama, Mexico, and most of Europe to name some of the places they visited. They made many wonderful friends during their travels.
A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on May 3 at The Bridge Presbyterian Church, 1444 Lanvale Road, Leland NC. The family will receive friends at 10 AM before the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s honor may be made to The Bridge Presbyterian Church, 1444 Lanvale Road, Leland NC 28451.
Please share memories and condolences with Bob’s family by signing the Tribute Wall.